In the midst of the economic gloom, an emotional path to the light

Graphic of book cover for Learned Optimism

Washington Post Happiness Can Spread Among People Like a Contagion, Study Indicates:

“Stanley Wasserman, who studies social networks at Indiana University, said: “We’ve known that one’s network ties are important, but we’ve never looked at anything on this scale. The implications are you can’t look at individuals as little entities devoid of their social context.” Others, however, questioned the findings, noting that it is difficult to account for every variable that might affect the outcomes of such studies.”

Coincidentally, I am reading Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin Seligman, who’s quoted in this article. It’s fascinating to see the upside to this approach to the mind. The investigators can apply scientific testing to determine and measure the effects of an emotional state (positive or negative ) in a social network. It also allows society to take preventative actions to safeguard the mental well-being of target populations, like teenagers and the elderly, who tend to be more prone to depression and anxiety. There are simple interventions that can be done without the need for meditation or extended therapy.